The Verona Public Library will be open on a Sunday for the first time Feb. 4.

And it will be open from 1-5 p.m. each Sunday through the school year, with some exceptions (Easter Sunday, the day before Memorial Day) according to a Jan. 16 news release. After a break in the summer, it will resume through the fall, with no decisions made beyond 2018.

“Adding Sunday hours will be a real benefit to many people in the community,” director Stacey Burkart wrote in the release. “We expect to be very busy.”

The Verona library is one of the busiest in the county, and many patrons have requested Sunday hours for years, particularly after it expanded into its current 30,000-square-foot building in 2006, vastly increasing its circulation.

The release said the expansion “allows the Verona library to keep pace” with a trend of adding Sunday hours in the area.

Among Dane County libraries with Sunday hours are Fitchburg, Middleton, Monona, Stoughton, and Madison’s Sequoya, Central and Pinney branches. All are open from 1-5 p.m.

Those without include Oregon and Madison’s Meadowridge, Alisha Ashman, Goodman South, South Madison and Hawthorne branches.

A proposal in 2013 to eventually expand Verona’s hours by doubling its budget failed amid controversy, and the idea was not brought up again publicly until last year, when Burkart suggested filling spots with part-time help to provide four-hour blocks.

The Library Board began discussing Burkart’s proposal in April, two years after she took over her position. She told the Library Board then the reason it hadn’t been brought up again was concern over expense to the city and stress on the staff.

But other good ideas began to spread recently.

In 2016, Stoughton went through a pilot program that expanded Sunday hours by increasing its roster of limited-term employees – seasonal workers who are limited to 520 hours per year and do not get state benefits. That was made permanent in Stoughton’s 2017 budget.

The Verona Library Board adopted the proposal to start in 2018, which added just over $60,000 to the budget request, and the city approved the additional spending in its budget in November. That still left the city’s contribution to the library budget far below what it was supposed to spend in order to avoid paying a library tax. A deal it reached with the county will increase the city’s contribution to the library’s budget by more than $300,000 over the next five years.

For information, call 845-7180 or visit veronapubliclibrary.com.

Email Verona Press editor Jim Ferolie at veronapress@wcinet.com.